SCHIPHOL AIRPORT–the art of being the best

IMG_4616If there’s a better airport than Schiphol for pre-flight culture anywhere in the world, I’d be very interested in seeing it.

At most of the world’s airports, time before or between flights is spent aimlessly browsing the duty free shops, converting currencies in your head and trying to calculate how much you could save by buying a bottle of whisky or an iPad case you don’t need.

The rule about using up local currency before you fly out is that whatever takes your fancy, be it a camera or a cup of coffee, it will always cost 5 cents more than the amount you still have jingling in your pocket.

Duty free joys are available at Amsterdam’s Schiphol too, but those of us who like the arts have also been catered for.

A small gallery displays changing exhibitions from the fabulous collection of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.



Schiphol also has a library, for those whose flights are seriously delayed. I was pleased to see they have a little collection of kids books too.
I had about half an hour still to kill, so I was delighted to find a baby grand piano by the toilets. Just the thing I needed.

The sign on it said it was there for our enjoyment and that no degree in music was required. So I sat down and did a little tentative tinkling, earning a modest round of applause from those nearby. Then I started off towards Gate G to board the flight to Singapore with the self-satisfied smile of one who’s spent a worthwhile hour and a half in self-improvement.

I had to make one quick stop along the way to duck into the Rijksmuseum shop.

Maybe they’d have a Rembrandt iPad case for less than EUR4.90.


Filed under Art, Holland

9 responses to “SCHIPHOL AIRPORT–the art of being the best

  1. Caroline

    The only time I’ve been there, I had about 15 minutes to sprint the entire length of the airport. So I didn’t get much of a chance for self improvement. Oh and I had wicked conjunctivitis which meant it was a rather horrible flight to Melbourne.

  2. The only memory I have of Schiphol airport is having to walk through it at a very rapid pace to get to the departure gate on time! But I must admit, it was a lovely airport. I wish I’d been in the audience during your impromptu piano-tinkling – that would’ve been magical!

  3. john

    Pianos seem to grow in the streets of europe during summer. Recent sightings – Paris, in several streets and also in Les Halles ( being given a work out by a young asian girl with a large enraptured audience !). Geneva near the book market, a “cool” dude doing a reasonable version of a Thelonious Monk tune (not round midnight) –it was early afternoon.
    I read recenly in SMH that many Pianos are turning up at the tip, to big for small apartments, digital keys take up less space (Hammond, Fender Rhodes etc) Read also that Tuners are disappearing, training courses loosing numbers.

    • Yes, we saw a street pianist in Paris (outside Printemps) this year too, also playing very well, in a flashy sort of way.

      We still have a big upright in the house, but indeed, should we downsize it will have to go.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment.

  4. Gaute Gjol Dahle

    Hi, Im am art director for an magazine and would like to come in contact with you due to a request to use one of the pictures above from Schiphol Airport.
    Please contact me by mail as soon as possible.


    Best regards,

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